Park Chan-wook Softens Up With New Film To Depict Characters’ Subtle Emotions

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SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) — Director Park Chan-wook said Thursday that he’s left uplifting elements from his previous movies, like 2003’s ‘Oldboy’ and 2016’s ‘The Handmaiden’, for his latest award-winning film. at Cannes’ Decision to Leave in order to help audiences focus on the complex and subtle emotions of the characters.

“I haven’t been shy about literally using ‘peripheral nerve-stimulating expressions’ in my previous films. I’m not saying it’s wrong to do so, but I wanted them to be,” he said. he said at a press conference in Seoul. to promote the new film. “I wanted to make a different movie this time. As it’s a story about people hiding their true emotions, I wanted audiences to become eager to approach these people to peek into their minds, curious to know what they think.”

He then compared this kind of film to a song where subtle vocal expressions are required.

“Think of a situation where the drum and guitar sounds are too loud when a singer has to sing thinly and lightly. I thought I should lower the volume of such an accompaniment for this movie. is what makes it different from my previous works, if only.”

Tang Wei, the Chinese actress who stars in the film, added, “I don’t know if I can put it that way, but Park’s previous titles have strong tastes. If I say they had a strong taste of kimchi, this film would taste fresh, simple and sweet.”

“Decision to Leave” is a genre-blending film about a detective who suspects a mysterious widow in a murder case and then falls in love with her after days of surveillance.

The film is Park’s first Korean-language film in six years after “The Handmaiden” and his fourth entry into competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

On Sunday, he won Best Director for New Feature at the 75th edition of the festival, making it his third prize at Cannes, after the Grand Prix for his thriller ‘Oldboy’ in 2003 and the Jury Prize. for the horror “Thirst” in 2009.

For “Decision to Leave,” Park said balancing detective procedural and romance was most important in the scriptwriting process.

“A journalist asked me to confirm if the film was half crime procedural and half romance during an interview in Cannes, I said that I would prefer to define it as a film 100% procedural crime and 100% romance. It’s not a pun, but what I’m saying is that the two elements are inseparable.”

Explaining his use of the word ‘inseparable’, the writer-director explained, “The interrogation process itself could be quite similar to a romantic blossoming process. That whatever happens between two people who love each other , as flirting, rejection, pushing and pulling, feeling resentful and making excuses happen in the process.”

Tang, best known for her role in “Lust, Caution” (2007), plays the suspicious Chinese widow of the dead man who lives in South Korea.

Park said her acting in Korean in her film deserves attention.

“Her character’s Korean is perfect. She uses perfect sentences, and the spelling and word spacing are also perfect. Although it is well-learned Korean, the accent and pronunciation are a little different from ours (ethnic Koreans).”

The director said he hopes Korean audiences find his Korean a little “strange” and get a chance to reflect on their relationships with others while listening to his lines.

Asked about his future, Park said he is now working as showrunner and co-director of the HBO television series titled “The Sympathizer” and hopes to take turns shooting English and Korean films every year.

The next film is set to hit local theaters on June 29.

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